DIY Book Box {Tutorial}

April 15, 2013

Secret book boxes. These are the stuff of old whodunits, with cursed and precious jewels hiding in the library of mysterious mansions. The only word to describe it is cool.

I've tried my hand three times in the past at making book boxes in the past. At first, I simply used an x-acto knife to cut out hundreds of individual pages. I did a tutorial for it and everything, but it is a very time consuming process and your hands get really tired.

Last year I attacked a book with power tools, and learned what not to do! Don't worry, though. I just helped a friend make her own book box and now I can (finally) show you how to make a nice book box using a drill, two screws, a scrollsaw, and some glue!

The project takes around half an hour to complete, but you'll want to let it dry overnight.

Begin by taking a destroyable book. What is a destroyable book? Something like a Reader's Digest Abriged book, which has a beautiful cover but it generally rubbish inside.

Do NOT destroy good books. You'll make bibliophiles like me die a little inside. ;)

Fold back the cover and a few pages from the front and back of the book.

This next step is very important-- if you forgo it, you'll ruin the book box. Sandwich the book between two pieces of wood and screw two screws through it.

Make sure everything is very snug.

Next, trace the edges of the book on the wood and draw the design you'd like to cut out. We chose a rectangle with rounded corners. Be sure to leave at least a half-inch border around the design.

It's difficult to twist a scrollsaw to make sharp edges, and even the curves we worked with were sideloading the blade. If you would like to make a straight rectangle, I'd recommend drilling holes at each corner. This gives the blade enough room to wiggle so that you can cut ninety-degree corners.

Drill a hole all the way through the book, push the blade through it, and set up your scrollsaw:


When you are finished, you'll have a nice block of paper left. These book guts are lots of fun. You can use the paper for origami, artwork, and even costumes!

Next, do a victory dance because IT WORKED! :D

The book will feel very smooth where you cut it. You are done hollowing it out at this point, but it doesn't work all that well as a box because the pages can be opened.

Paint the insides of the box with glue. This will make your box sturdy but let it look like a very normal book from the outside.

(This is different from the technique that I did with my previous book boxes, when I glued the outsides of the pages shut. If you are sure to sandwhich the book between the pieces of wood, you won't need the extra stability that gluing the outside of the book shut gives.)

Glue a piece of decorative paper or fabric on the first non-cut page at the back of the book.

Now, set a nice heavy dictionary on top of the book and let it dry flat and even.

This would make a really cool afternoon project! It takes around half and hour and only requires a basic knowledge of how to use a drill and scrollsaw. My book box is the perfect place to hide candy from little siblings, and my little sister keeps her favorite pieces of jewelry inside of hers. I've seen some neat pictures of people putting engagement rings inside of book boxes or hiding ipods and other valuables in  hollowed textbooks inside backpacks.

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  1. SUUUUPER cool! I must learn how to do this. I've always been fond of these coolio books, but I became more fond when I saw Neal Caffrey use one in White Collar.

    I don't know if you're the tagging kind, but if you are, I've tagged you.

    If you don't do tags, no worries! I was thinking about you, and wanted to let you know that, hey, I'm thinking about you! :)

    Have a lovely weekend. It's FRIIIIIIIDAY!!!


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